Some Facts On Pleural Mesothelioma

By Heidi Wingrain

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common among three categories of mesothelioma cancer affecting people inhaling asbestos filled air for long periods. The loose asbestos fibers enter in the protective membrane of our internal organs known as mesothelium and affect the cells and their functioning. In the case of pleural mesothelioma, the protective lining around lungs and internal chest wall called pleura gets affected.

The pleura consists of one which covers the chest wall called parietal pleura and another which covers the lungs known as visceral pleura. The easy expansion and contraction of lungs is possible because of a fluid present between these two linings. Asbestos which is inhaled enters into the minute passages of the lungs and then the pleura. The consequence is the formation of cancerous cells, due to a chemical reaction which the medical world still cannot explain. The pleura lining becomes thicker and thicker as the cells start dividing unnaturally. Excess fluid also gets accumulated. Breathing process is reduced by the thickening of the pleura resulting in breathlessness.

Difficulty in breathing is of course the first symptom. This is followed by chest pain, loss weight and night sweats. What makes the disease dangerous is that the first symptoms may appear only many years after he was exposed to asbestos particles. The more number of years a person is exposed to asbestos, the seriousness of the disease will be more. The physicians may wrongly diagnose the disease making the condition fatal. The best thing to do is that if a person with a history of working with asbestos has any of these symptoms, he should immediately seek the help of a mesothelioma doctor.

There are traditional treatment methods like radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery available for the disease. But these methods are not completely successful. The five different surgical treatment followed is intra-operative photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy.

Chemotherapy is the widely accepted medicated treatment. Usage of high energy gamma rays, X-rays or neutrons is involved in radiation therapy. Other options like intra-operative photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy are also resorted. In any case the final success will depend on the determination of the patient and the level of pleural mesothelioma infection. - 30540

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